The “stick in a pot” terminology is often used in bonsai and almost always in a derogatory way. People new to bonsai then get discouraged about the art and often don’t pursue it.
Many times a stick in a pot is a starting point and hopefully people will continue and enjoy the art/craft.
Some time ago I dug a few crab apple seedlings I decided to plant it into a bonsai pot to see how it goes and I think it is going along just fine. While it will never be an exhibition winner it will be OK and give me, or perhaps someone else many years of enjoyment. Isn’t the enjoyment factor a large part of owning bonsai? I think yes.